Congratulations to the Phillies, Giants and Yankees for making it to the LCS. It will be great to watch the Game 5 tonight between Tampa Bay and Texas. The only one that surprises me the most is the Yankees' sweep of Minnesota, but the Yankees get another break because tonight Tampa and Texas will have to use their aces and won't be able to use them in the opening of the ALCS.
But I still expect that whomever wins the Texas-Tampa series to still have a great series against the Yankees.
Can either the Rangers or the Rays beat the Yankees considering they?ll be so well rested?
I don't think the rest is the important thing. Sometimes you lose your timing with a few days off. We saw that with Detroit a few years back when they had all the time off and they lost their timing in the World Series. The advantage that the Yankees gets is that they wouldn't have to face someone like David Price in the opening game.
The Phillies pitching has to make them the favorites at this point. Do you see anything derailing their run for the title?
Well you can never tell if a team will continue to play as well as the Reds or pitch as well. I have said for the last month that the Phillies are the best team in baseball. But that doesn't mean anything. I don't think anyone is guaranteed to win a championship. This is not a cut and dry situation right now.
Why can?t the Twins beat the Yankees in the playoffs?
I have my own opinions about the Twins and it's not going to sound good, and I don't mean it in a bad way. They don't seem to be able to raise their intensity level in the playoffs. In the regular season, they're able to beat the Yankees, but in the playoffs, they're not able to meet their intensity.
What?s been your favorite moment of the playoffs thus far?
Well, probably watching Roy Halladay pitch the no-hitter. That's been the top achievement by any player.
Speaking of Halladay, I think his intensity level was higher than anyone's on the field that day. No one could match his intensity that day.
Did the Reds make so many mistakes in the field due to playoff inexperience?
A lot of people would look at that and say that playoff inexperience hurt them there, but their two best defensive players, Scott Rolen and Brandon Phillips, made mistakes. I can't say it was a lack of experience, but guess what, it may have been.
Obviously, it could have been a different series if they could have won Game 2.
Do playoff pitching matchups get any better than the Giants and Phillies?
Well, only if you're going to go Koufax against Gibson. But I would say in this day and age it probably doesn't get any better. But pitching has dominated the scene. Tonight, Price against Lee. There are a lot of great pitchers this year with great seasons. There have been a lot of great matchups.
Should the Rangers have pitched Cliff Lee in Game 4?
Cliff Lee never pitches on short rest. Even last year with the Phillies in the World Series, Sabathia, Pettitte pitched on short rest, but Lee did not for the Phillies. He knows himself better than I do, so the answer is probably no.
How long do you think it'll be before we see another no-hitter in the postseason?
Those things are unpredictable. We haven't seen one since Don Larson's perfect game. It will be a lot longer before we see another one, in my opinion. But I do not want to compare Halladay's no-hitter to Larson's perfect game. You're basically talking apples and oranges. Larson in the World Series had not faced those hitters all year. Halladay had pitched against the Reds throughout the season and had a better understanding of who they were and how to pitch to them. The World Series in the past was more important because of the unknown factor with pitchers and hitters having not seen each other.
Phils and Giants in the NLCS! Whose gonna win, and in how many games?
I said the Phillies are the best team in the NL and they are. They're the most complete team. If Lincecum is able to beat Halladay, not once, but twice, that will turn the series around. Cain will matchup with Oswalt and Sanchez will matchup against Hamels. How Halladay and Lincecum do, if they split, I give the edge to the Phillies. There's no doubt in my mind that the Phillies are the best team.
Would it make sense for the LCS to begin earlier? So the rotation would reflect the rest they received from their performance in the LDS.
You can't start them early, because you have to leave time in there for weather and travel. It's just unfortunate that you have as many days off. But if we had gone 5 games with every series, it wouldn't be that long.
Much has been made of the blown calls this postseason. Why can?t baseball adapt to the technology available today and make the game a more even playing field? They?re doing it with drug testing, why not instant replay?
I have been a guy that has said we do not need more replay, because I always felt the umpires should be held accountable. If players don't do well, they get sent to the minors or released. I think the umpires should be held to a higher standard. But watching the playoffs this year, if the umpires, this is the best that they can be, then there needs to be more instant replay. And that's difficult for me to say. If we're sending out the best there is, then we need more replay. Too many games are being effected because of mistakes.
Any parting comments on Bobby Cox?
I have known Bobby for a long time. I played against him in the minor leagues. We've known each other since that time. I've had the most respect for him, both as a player and a manager. He fought hard. That's why he got ejected so many times, he fought hard for his players and teams. I did an interview with him for a Sunday Night broadcast and he was explaining who he was and why he decided to retire at this time. He's been a great manager.
A lot of people say the Phils have 3 aces, but was Cole Hamels really all that good this year? His W-L record was just 12-11.
He pitched well down the stretch. I know he was 4-0 at one point in September. Oswalt was 4-0 and Halladay was 4-0. He has pitched better in September and October. He was fabulous in Game 3 against the Reds on Sunday. I say he's an ace and he's back to being an ace.
Do you think that we will see a repeat of the 2009 World Series for the 2010 World Series?
Everybody seems to think that way, but it's too early. The Yankees aren't a shoe-in against Texas or Tampa Bay. And the Phillies are not a shoe-in against the Giants. But the odds do favor that matchup in the World Series. The Yankees do not have homefield advantage in this upcoming series.
Joe, with the way pitchers are throw Hamilton curve after curve and as hot of a bat as N. Cruz has would you switch lineup spots with Vlad and Cruz to have Cruz hitting behind Hamilton?
I think your idea is great and correct. But I don't think you will see a manager change his lineup in the fifth game of a Division Series. I think you're correct, but managers don't want to change something that's worked for them for most of the season. And they don't want to get second guessed if they do make a change and it doesn't work.
Do you think the 3 out of 5 format is the best way to handle the 1st round of the playoffs?
I would say no, but I'm not making those decisions. I think four out of seven is best. You play 162 games to determine the best teams in the league. The longer the division series goes, the better chance you have of having the better team win. Shorter series allows for upsets. Best four of seven would be a better format.
Has Joe Maddon tinkered too much with his lineup in this series? It seems like he has a different lineup each night.
Joe is more of a tinkerer than the other managers in the playoffs. He feels that pitching changes every day and therefore his lineup needs to adjust to that pitching. I can't fault him for that because he knows his players better than we do. I think his players have accepted him moving the lineup around all the time. It will be interesting to see what he does with the lineup after stacking it against Cliff Lee in the first game of the series.
I hope tonight's matchup between the Rays and Rangers ends up with a hero rather than a goat. I hope someone steps to the forefront, a pitcher or hitter, to help their team win. I felt very bad for Brooks Conrad. He didn't play a lot this year and all of a sudden he's in there and has a bad game. We've all had bad games, his just happened to be in a crucial situation.
Thanks for chatting Joe!